How did Stanford Universitys acceptance rate drop below that of Harvard Universitys?

Stanford University acceptance rate

Both have many aspirants to be in their incoming class.

The number could be lower due to the class size, stanford being in the 400s and Harvard in their 800s in each of their general incoming class.

,Most if not all who apply to stanford may apply to Harvard as well and vice versa.

Yale University acceptance rate

Harvard University acceptance rate 2022

Hereu2019s the raw data that drives the trend:,This isnu2019t about u201cbirth ratesu201d, itu2019s about u201cnumber of birthsu201d.

Right now, weu2019re seeing kids born in 2003 applying to college (more or less).

Note that the possible number of kids applying to college is going to increase, for at least another 4u20135 years and doesnu2019t materially change for 8.

,So, thatu2019s one factor.

,The other? This merciless, unrelenting belief that u201ceveryone is equalu201d and u201ceveryone deserves an equal shot at going to an elite universityu201d.

,Which is rank bullshit.

,Combining the sense of entitlement of people believing - for absolutely no apparent reason other than an accumulation of participation trophies and high grades in de-contented course work - that they by god deserve a place at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, etc?,You absolutely will see an increase in the number of applications, but only a slight increase in the number of seats, resulting in LOWER acceptance rates.

,If youu2019re concerned about u201clow acceptance ratesu201d because youu2019re thinking about applying someplace, youu2019re looking at the wrong thing.

Of course the rates are low - you WANT them to be low (if youu2019re admitted).

,If you want to be admitted u2014 donu2019t worry about the rates.

Worry about how you are going to be such an outstanding individual that the school of interest to you will instantly realize how having you as part of the student body will improve the quality of the university experience for everyone there.

,That, by the way, is not about grades.

Grades are u201cticket to playu201d, and by themselves donu2019t move the needle.

At all.

Itu2019s also not typically about high school sports and clubs.

Itu2019s about passion, itu2019s about the stuff you do that NO ONE ELSE DOES.

Itu2019s about how your character shows up, and where.

,Go.

Do.

Be.

Most of all u201cbe moreu201d.

,Good luck.

Harvard GPA requirements

In my Section (~80 students) we had a contest to see who had the lowest GPA and was still able to get admitted.

I think the guy who won had a 2.

4 (out of 4).

But he had absolutely killer work experience, including starting a successful company that he had sold before coming to HBS.

,I didnt win the contest (with my 2.

5), but had my own reasons why HBS might have admitted me, which again included some entrepreneurial activities, just not at the level of my classmate.

,Nov.

2021: Iu2019ll consolidate some of my comments from below, for easier readingu2026.

,Comment from below: So, (now 2021) I finally decided I should go back and get some data on this since it [how many applicants now versus then] appeared to be a legitimate comment from a few folks.

It appears there were about 3,500 applicants to HBS in 1975, versus something like 9,000+ now.

So, given the size of the class has not changed much, it is true that statistically, it was almost 3x easier to gain admission back when I applied.

Glad I went then!,Comment from below: To be fair, yes it was [were my GMATs strong].

I have always been fortunate to do well on standardized tests.

,One new thought: In 1975 when I applied they had a question on the application to the point, u201cIf you do not think your undergraduate grades reflect your academic ability, explain why.

u201d This was, of course right on the heels of the Vietnam War.

I was an undergrad from 1968u20131972, with a 2S (student) deferment while there.

However, the rules were you had to stay in school, on a program to graduate in 4 years or lose your 2S.

It also so happened I started as an Engineering major, but found that was not my path - but I also had acquired draft #34, meaning if I lost my student deferment, I was off to Vietnam*.

,By the time all this transpired, the only majors I could graduate with within 4 years were chemistry, physics, or math.

For me, chemistry was the least bad option.

So, I was not motivated to do well, except to pass (with u201cgentlemenu2019s Cu2019su201d).

I doubt I was the only male applicant in those days with that dilemma.

Apparently, the HBS admissions officers felt that was a reasonable response.

,[* I did end up serving six years in the US Air Force Reserve after undergrad, but by then the war was essentially over.

]

Princeton acceptance rate

EA programs serve one critical purpose for schools: they push up yield.

High yield, combined with low RD numbers, results in higher ranking.

Ranking is a game in which students are not players; students are the ball.